Library Book Sale Finds: Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny

The problem with the library book sale books (now I’ve been to another one) is that I’ve got a whole bunch now, and I can’t tell which ones I picked up versus which ones my husband picked up (unless they’re mysteries. The mysteries are all mine).

That’s the case here. I don’t remember picking up Nine Princes in Amber (it has a large sticker declaring it the property of a Minnesota library, which is fairly distinctive) but it seems like something I would have, since Zelazny is one of those authors I’ve heard of but never read.

Title: Nine Princes in Amber
Author: Roger Zelazny
Genre: …fantasy?
Publication Year:
1970

Pros: Excellent hook, very strong beginning, interesting family dynamics
Cons: Book gets more tell-y as it goes on

Nine Princes in Amber is the first book in a long series called the Chronicles of Amber. We meet our main character in the hospital, where he remembers nothing. The beginning is excellent, with the mystery of who he is making for a really interesting read.

The problem is that that mystery is solved fairly quickly, and the book kind of devolves from there. Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s interesting family dynamics, some fascinating world building, and some great character interactions. But we get several long passages of exposition or telling what happened over a period of some time, and nothing that happens after the main character figures out who he is is quite as compelling as what happens before.

I guess there’s such a thing as too strong a hook?

At the same time, the book ends on a note that almost makes me want to read the rest of the series, if I can find them anywhere, even though the main story arcs seem like they may not be things that necessarily appeal to me.

So I’m generally conflicted. I really liked the beginning, but the rest of the book wasn’t so hot. Squiders who have read this series, what did you think? (Please note at the beginning of your comment if you are including spoilers.)

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